(Honolulu, HI) – On Wednesday, November 20, the Shidler College of Business’ Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) conducted the final round and announced the winners of the 2019 University of Hawaii (UH) Breakthrough Innovation Challenge. Inspired by a friend’s near-death motorcycle accident that left him hospitalized with multiple broken bones, Computer Science student Ty Uehara, designed a riding helmet that incorporates multiple technologies. This improved design enables riders who have fallen from an accident to be in immediate contact with emergency services, without having to move any part of their body. Ty and his idea called “ConTekt” captured the top prize of $2,000. This year’s challenge was sponsored by one of the State’s largest CPA firms, Accuity LLP. Nearly 80 people attended the event, which was held at The Pacific Club. Prior to the final event, contestants who are UH students, submitted a 2-minute video in which they detailed their breakthrough idea and its market potential. A preliminary judging panel selected the finalists. PACE then matched the finalists with mentors from the local business community to help the teams further identify commercial opportunities for the idea and develop a five-minute presentation.
Hawaii Innovation Lab captured the second prize of $1,000, and the $1,000 Audience Choice award that was determined by audience votes.
The finalists presented their ideas to a judging panel comprised of Len Higashi, interim director of Hawaii Technology Development Corporation; Julia Okinaka, president of Accuity Consulting Services; and George Yarbrough, co-founder of Impact Hub Honolulu. The panel was tasked with determining a first and second place winner.
“The success of this particular challenge, for PACE, has been engaging students from technical fields of study and introducing them to business and entrepreneurial concepts,” said Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE. “I am continually impressed by the creative and ambitious ideas of our students, and am excited to be able to help them in their entrepreneurial journey that’s just beginning.”
Watch the entire video recording.